In new lawsuit, Texas contests election results in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania

In the suit, Paxton claims that pandemic-era changes to election procedures in those states violated federal law and allowed voter fraud, which election officials have rejected. (Credit: Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune)

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing four battleground states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — whose election results handed the White House to President-elect Joe Biden.

In the suit, he claims that pandemic-era changes to election procedures in those states violated federal law, and asks the U.S. Supreme Court to block the states from voting in the Electoral College.

The last-minute bid, which legal experts have already characterized as a longshot, comes alongside dozens of similar attempts by President Donald Trump and his political allies. The majority of those lawsuits have already failed.

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, officials in most states and U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr have said. Biden won in all four states where Paxton is challenging the results.

In a filing to the high court Tuesday, Paxton claims the four battleground states broke the law by instituting pandemic-related changes to election policies, whether “through executive fiat or friendly lawsuits, thereby weakening ballot integrity.”

Paxton claimed that these changes allowed for voter fraud to occur — a conclusion experts and election officials have rejected — and said the court should push back a Dec. 14 deadline by which states must appoint their presidential electors.

“That deadline, however, should not cement a potentially illegitimate election result in the middle of this storm,” attorneys for Texas wrote.

Officials in Georgia — where Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger recertified the state's election results again Monday after a recount — were quick to dismiss Paxton's allegations.

"The allegations in the lawsuit are false and irresponsible," Georgia's deputy secretary of state, Jordan Fuchs, said in a statement Tuesday. "Texas alleges that there are 80,000 forged signatures on absentee ballots in Georgia, but they don’t bring forward a single person who this happened to. That’s because it didn’t happen."

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel dismissed Paxton's suit as "a publicity stunt, not a serious legal pleading."

"Mr. Paxton’s actions are beneath the dignity of the office of Attorney General and the people of the great state of Texas," she said.

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.